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To show that they can

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This thread from the great political theorist Bonnie Honig makes an important point:

There are many even better examples of this — most obviously, violently attacking the Lafayette Park protestors for his photo-op before the curfew had even ended — but going out of your way to show that you’re above the law is central to the authoritarian mindset, and is also crucial to the “law and order” mentality as it functions in practice. (It’s no accident that Richard Nixon was a master of the trope.)

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